Flying almost always comes with some anxiety, but for parents travelling with kids with special needs such as autism, the mere thought of navigating the sensory hurricane that is a busy airport can be terrifying.
Photo: Karen (Flickr)
The crowds, the lines, the announcements piping through the loud speakers, the spontaneous pat-downs - it's often too much. Here are some other tips for flying with an autistic child:
- Prepare your kid. Shannon Airport has some step-by-step videos to show travellers what's to come, from arriving at the airport to landing. Sydney Airport also has a short video about the departure process.
- Do a practice run. The Autism Association and Perth Airport's Wings for Autism program allows autistic passengers to do a "rehearsal" at the airport before their flight.
- Request priority boarding. When you make your reservation, let the airline know you'd like priority seating, and inform the gate personnel of your request when you arrive.
- Bring comforting items. For instance, if your child is sensitive to loud sounds, make sure to pack noise-cancelling headphones.